As bad news poured in from the southern border, a diverse group of Democratic U.S. senators is backing a bipartisan border security bill extending Title 42 rules for another two years in the face of the crisis.
Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Arizona independent Sen. Kirsten Sinema have been joined by populist progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), reaching across the aisle as illegal border crossings set new records.
But two Senate Democrats are not on board: Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen.
Granite Staters watched the flood of illegal immigrants — about 7,000 “encounters” at the border every day for the past year — turn into a tidal wave last week. There were more than 10,000 encounters at the border each day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. A total of 83,000 migrants crossed the border last week alone, nearly double the population of Concord, N.H.
Among those “encountered” was an Afghan national on the FBI’s terror watch list, caught slipping into the U.S. near San Diego on Wednesday. The AP reported nearly 100 “encounters” in 2022 involved people on the terror watch list.
“Biden’s open borders aren’t just a gateway to five million illegals, record human and child trafficking and the deadliest drug crisis in our history,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who represents the district where the terrorist was caught. “Biden’s reckless policy is also an open invitation to even the most wanted terrorists in the world to come to America. They know they’ll never have to leave.”
In response to the chaos, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed a border security bill last week. Both Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas voted against it, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) is unlikely to let the bill come to the Senate floor.
Now Sinema and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have teamed up on a bill (S. 1473) temporarily giving the Biden administration powers similar to those under Title 42 for two years. The goal is to confront the immediate emergency and give Congress and the White House time to pass a more permanent solution.
“This applies to people who are crossing the border illegally,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another Democrat backing the bill. “They’re breaking the law. Have them do it the legal way: Go through the courts. Just don’t go crossing the river.”
Neither Hassan nor Shaheen are co-sponsors of the legislation. Both refuse to respond to requests for comment on the current situation at the border. And there is no mention of the border crisis in their social media so far this month.
The two New Hampshire Democrats have largely been party loyalists on the immigration issue, backing amnesty for illegals and opposing tough enforcement of immigration laws, though with occasional deviations that appeared politically motivated.
During the 2o22 campaign, Hassan reversed her position on Title 42 and announced she wanted to keep it in place. But last week, Hassan reversed herself again, saying she supported ending the policy.
Both Hassan and Shaheen opposed President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a border wall and oppose “interior enforcement” — deporting illegal immigrants who’ve made it into the U.S. and are discovered later — unless the illegal has committed a serious additional crime.
With border crossings falling for a few days after their record highs, President Joe Biden and Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas are declaring victory. Mayorkas said the number of crossings “over the past two days are markedly down” from the records set earlier in the week.
And when the press caught up to him near his vacation home in Rehoboth, Delaware, Biden bragged, “Much better than you all expected.”
A group of 13 states is suing the Biden administration over the new “parole” policy it instituted in the wake of Title 42. They’re releasing some migrants into the U.S. without a court date, an alien registration number, or a tracking device. Instead, Customs and Border Patrol is asking the undocumented migrants to make an appointment with immigration authorities or request a Notice to Appear in court by mail.
“To any reasonable American, this is insanity,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the effort against the new policy.